Walker Calls Republican Senate Race Defeat a “Wake-up Call”

“Democratic Win in Wisconsin Special Election is Portent of Doom for the Republican Party,” said a headline for a Newsweek article about Democrat Patty Schachtner winning the Jan. 16 special Senate election in a traditionally Republican stronghold in western Wisconsin.

“Senate District 10 special election win by a Democrat is a wake up call for Republicans in Wisconsin,” Gov. Scott Walker tweeted after Schachtner soundly defeated Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow in the special election.

The “flip” in representation in the district that has been Republican since 2000 – and represented by a woman since 1993 – was being watched closely by political pundits across the country, but especially by Democrats who were happy to point out that it was the 34th legislative flip from red to blue since Donald Trump’s inauguration one year ago this week.

The special election was required when Sheila Harsdorf, who had held the seat since 2001, was appointed by Walker to head the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Schachtner, of Somerset, Wis., is a former EMT and town supervisor. She is a member of the Somerset School Board and serves as the St. Croix County Medical examiner. She also counts herself as a biker, a gun safety advocate and a former member of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association.

Schachtner took 55 percent of the vote. When she takes her seat in the Senate, the Republicans will still have an 18-14 majority, with our 1st District Senate seat vacant since Frank Lasee left earlier this month for a higher paying government job with the Department of Workforce Development.

In other special elections, Republican Rick Gundrum defeated Democrat Dennis Degenhardt to win the 58th Assembly District, which was left vacant when former Republican state Rep. Bob Gannon died in October. In the 66th Assembly District, Democrat Greta Neubauer faced no opposition in her bid to replace former Democratic state Rep. Cory Mason, who was elected mayor of Racine.

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